A change of scenery has done wonders for the Ipswich Jets who got their premiership defence back on track with a 20-6 win over a flat Sunshine Coast Falcons at Hervey Bay earlier this evening.
The defending premiers have not had the start to the season they would have wanted; with questions being asked about their playing style and whether or not other teams had ‘figured them out’ being compounded by injuries to key players.
The Jets travelled north to take on the Falcons minus a number of their stars; with Marmin Barba, Nat Neale, Sam Martin, Richard Pandia, Liam Capewell, Michael Purcell and Rory Humphreys all missing from their line-up.
In stepped two Cup debutants in Josh Robinson and Nathan Gaulton, and a third club debutant in Josh Damen, who last played at this level with Souths Logan. Ben White was also welcomed back into the side; playing his fifth game since 2014.
Having lost their past three games in the row; here the Jets played the first half like a team that was willing to “play ugly” and get the result no matter what. They showed that they were a team prepared to dig into the line and wait for a chance.
In the 15th minute, the Jets got their reward for persistent pressure forcing drop outs and slowly building towards a try. It came from a well-placed kick from Dane Phillips that saw Damen score his first in club colours to get the Jets moving at 4-0. Haydan Lipp that gave the Jets the maximum points when he converted to have the Jets up 6-0.
Kicking was proving profitable for the Jets when Lipp rolled one into the in-goal for 121-game veteran Tyson Lofipo to score try number 18 for the Ipswich Jets. This put his side up 12-0 after 28 minutes again Lipp added the two points to go 12-0 up.
At half time the message from the Jets coaches was simple: keep going, keep building pressure and digging in.
The second half started the same as the first with the Jets building pressure and maintaining a forward barrage that battered the Falcons.
In the 58th minute Ipswich forward leader Josh Seage scored his third try this year and his 5th in his 45th game for the Jets. Seage has been a powerhouse for the Jets over the last month, doing plenty of the work that goes unnoticed but the team needs.
In the 70th minute, the Jets sealed the win when Lipp, taking the ball and getting through the line; offloaded to White to score and give the Jets a 20-0 lead. Carlin Anderson missed the kick and the score was unchanged.
The only bright spark for the Sunshine Coast came right before fulltime when front rower and late inclusion into the side Felise Kaufusi scored a consolation try and Ryan Hansen converted to bring the final score to 20-6.
It wasn’t the most attractive win by the Jets, but it showed plenty of grit and guts to get the two points away from home against the odds.
While the Jets were celebrating; the Falcons were left disappointed with their efforts – with coach Craig Ingebrigtsen telling local media the performance was not up the standard expected to compete well in the Intrust Super Cup.
However, while there might have been disappointment at the performance on the the field - both clubs were appreciative of the large crowd that came to watch the game and of the local league for their work in making the game happen.
The Falcons will have a week to regroup before they face an improving Norths Devils on the Sunshine Coat, while the Jets will be hitting the road to play the Cutters in Mackay.
IPSWICH JETS 20 (Joshua Damen, Tyson Lofipo, Joshua Seage, Ben White tries; Haydan Lipp 2 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 6 (Felise Kaufusi try; Ryan Hansen goal) at Stafford Park, Hervey Park.